Norwell Circuit Race – Masters 35+ Field – 1st Place
We did 10 laps of a 2.3 mile circuit on good pavement closed to traffic. There was a short steep hill leading up to the finish line, and then the rest of the loop was a rolling descent.
We had only 32 starters in the field, so this was the smallest field I’d raced in so far. Things started out fast as we hit the first hill hard and were strung out most of the first lap. I hadn’t been on the course before so I spent the couple laps getting a feel for the circuit. As we hit the hill to start the 3rd lap, I surged with a group of guys over the top and pushed the pace starting the descent to see if anybody was interested in a breakaway. I looked back and saw about 12 guys strung out with a small gap, but nobody would pull through, so it was clearly time to sit up and wait until later. A small breakaway seemed to go every time we hit the finishing hill or one of the smaller hills on the circuit, but for the next few laps I tried to conserve energy and sit in as much as I could. It was great having the entire width of the road to race since it was easy to move around in the peleton.
The key move came at the halfway point of the race with 5 laps to go. There was a small breakaway just up the road on the descent, and on the stretch leading up to the finishing hill another group of strong riders made a move to bridge up. I waited until the turn onto the finishing hill, and then stood up bridged up to the back of the breakaway group. The group was coming apart at that point as some guys were sitting up either spent or waiting for the peleton. I made my hardest attack of the day up to the front of the group, yelled something like “let’s go!” to the guys in front as I pulled in front of them and pushed the following descent hard for the next minute or so – hoping to pull the strongest guys into a breakaway. When I looked back to let somebody pull through I was surprised to see nobody behind me. This wasn’t exactly what I wanted as there were still 5 laps to go so I was torn as to whether to keep pushing or wait. Then I saw somebody bridging up to me and eventually was joined by Bill Shattuck of Corner Cycle. I pushed the pace for a bit once he got on my wheel, and he pulled through for a couple turns. When we approached the finishing hill with 4 laps to go, he dropped back to the group so I was once again on my own. At this point I had to go “all in” and try to stay away solo. I attacked the hill again hoping to get to the descent maintaining a decent gap on the field, and then went into TT mode from there. The motorcycle pulled up and gave me a split of 15 seconds with 3 laps to go, and then it was 25 seconds with 2 laps remaining, and to my relief 38 seconds approaching the bell lap. After hitting the hill hard one last time I was able to relax and enjoy the final lap. I ended up winning by just over 1 minute over the field.
I was really happy with my form and the win after not racing for 7 weeks. Here are the power stats below showing I was right at my limit the whole breakaway. The normalized power is much higher because of the big surges on the uphills and relatively moderate pace on the longer descending sections.
23-mile complete race: 53 minutes, 332 avg watts, 394 norm watts
11.5-mile breakaway: 26 minutes, 379 avg watts, 415 norm watts
Here’s the link to the strava race file: http://app.strava.com/rides/15324661
Thanks for reading!